Cheryl Fuller posted a pair of meditations on the psychotherapeutic environment as a containing vessel. She raises an interesting point about the patient's responsibility to maintain the therapeutic container:
A proper container needs to be intact, without holes or cracks. What does this mean in terms of doing therapy? We all know about confidentiality -- the therapist is constrained from discussing the patient with anyone without permission. But how often is the patient made aware of her responsibility for also maintaining the integrity of the vessel? How often do patients tell their partners or friends in detail about their sessions? When this happens, the vessel of that work develops a crack and some of the energy leaks out, energy that if it stayed in the vessel would be available for the work of the therapy. [...]
It took me a long time to really get this more than intellectually. For me it had to do with needing to be willing to risk being alone in the therapy with my analyst. This work is intense and the pressure to punch holes in the vessel is always there. And holes and cracks will inevitably occur. Discovering them and patching them is part of the work. It took me a long time to get all of that on a feeling level.
As a patient, I didn't discuss my sessions with anyone, except at one point when something very distressing occurred several years into our work. The disturbing event was a breach of privacy which was subsequently symbolized in a dream I had about a glass door on the office. I had some discussions about this with a friend. I came to see these conversations as a form of retaliatory acting out, and yet my own breaches of privacy (talking with my friend) were still an attempt to protect the therapy(ist) by defusing my anger outside of the therapy relationship.
Otherwise, from the start, it just didn't feel right to share what was happening in therapy. In my case, I had the feeling that something very intimate was transpiring between us and I felt protective of that intimacy. What we were doing didn't belong to anyone else. Thinking back on it, my friends generally kept the happenings of their therapies to themselves, although that wasn't true in every case at all times.
Dr. Fuller's comment about "getting this more than intellectually" is an important one. There is a great deal about therapy that is difficult to really appreciate if one hasn't done therapy for a long time. A construct like the therapy as a container can be difficult enough intellectually. It takes much longer to really get it with palpable conviction.